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"Winter's End Festival"

IO Earth

By John O’Boyle
There were a couple of reasons for me attending this festival; IO EARTH (official website/ myspace) was one of those reasons. I last saw them at the Summers End Festival in 2009 where they torn the place up. On anticipation I wondered as to whether Dave and the guys could do this again and you know what they DID. Their set was made up from tracks from their debut album, of which might I add was in my top 5 albums last year. No pressure then. From the outset Dave Cureton and the guys knew what they wanted to achieve and how to do it and boy did they deliver. From the first chord Dave’s enigmatic guitar playing had so much heart and soul, you almost felt it breathe and caress you as it intertwined with his supporting cast of musicians, and to be honest it was his guitar playing that stole the show. In saying that though this really was a case of no one person being greater than the sum of all the parts. Claire Malin or as Dave described her, “The Eye Candy”, added depth to the whole affair, and to boot was a very adept vocalist having great stage presence. The highlights vocally for me were Claire’s version of Come With Me and Home. WOW it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The rhythm section consisting of Richard Cureton on drums and Marc Williams on bass who kept perfect rhythm and timing, playing what seemed to be some very complex passages. The music was layered on many levels courteously supplied by Adam Gough’s orchestration and somewhat in appearance humble keyboard playing and some absolutely fantastic wind instrumentation. This was true Prog Nirvana. IO EARTH live sound was solid really bringing to life their songs, setting the standards for the rest of the day Dave’s stage banter was really funny and even playing a bit of C.C. Rider for his mother, after telling a story about how she had requested him to play some Elvis whilst travelling to the show. This was a band that was not short of confidence, talent or material.

By Alex Torres
Ken Truman’s album review for DPRP was spot on – what an extraordinary band! Classical to heavy metal via funk and various other points in between, with time to squeeze in the odd jaw-dropping melody. Very good indeed! - DPRP

"Winter's End Festival"


For some reason (maybe pieces they played in the warm up and all the wind instruments on stage!) I had the impression that Birmingham based I O EARTH were a prog/jazz band and while their were elements of jazz in the sound they really rocked.

Hard to pigeon hole their sound, very guitar oriented with Dave Cureton pulling off all the guitar hero tricks and striking all the poses in a set including plenty of rocking instrumentals and they really have a sound of their own.

Several tracks featured the vocal talents of Claire Malin and the saxophone playing of Luke Shingler adding a completely different sound to the mix.

Dave has a superb wit, and between songs shared anecdotes on topics including Mother's Day and Elvis, as an Elvis fan I particularly enjoyed the latter especially when Dave started the band playing the opening riff of Elvis's Las Vegas style version of the American blues classic See See Rider.

One of the standouts in the set for me, if I remember correctly introduced as a heavy metal song, the rocking Light & Shade, not the set I expected but one I ended up really enjoying. -

"IOEarth Album Review"

IOEarth is a rapidly emerging progressive British rock band. Central figures Dave Cureton and Adam Gough have been good friends since they met in school at age twelve. Being two of a very small class of just four music students in their year, they worked together a great deal in composing, arranging and performing pieces for their GCSE coursework. They didn't know that their work would lead to the debut self-titled 2xCD album by IOEarth (IOEarth (UK) 0 094922 187666, 2008). The album has an incredible running time of over an hour and a half. Check out the band's website and their MySpace for further information and audio streams.

They wrote their first pieces including, "Time ...", "Split Personality" and the horribly bad angst-ridden ballad "Why Do People Have To Die?" But through the good and the bad songs, their writing partnership strengthened and by the time they were 15, they were composing and performing their own music at small local venues with a band made up of their friends and relatives. During rehersals for these gigs in a dimly lit, damp and freezing cold lock-up on an industrial estate in Birmingham, they created some of their best early works such as "As The Mountains Open" and "The Creation."

Many band members came and went through the years, each bringing their own styles and influence to Dave and Adam's work, but the one constant has been Dave's brother and the greatest living drummer from Kingshurt, Birmingham, Richard Cureton. Very often, he has served as a reality check for the founders as they created melodies and riffs that became ridiculously complex within tunes that had started life a simple guitar ballads, but more often than not he ends up playing along on their strange Zappa-esque tangents with just as much vigour as they do.

The band are clearly centered in progressive rock. Sung parts feature both male and female vocalists, and the album is primarily performed by Steve Balsamo. Female singers Claire Malin and Louise Barbbins add both backing harmonies and sing leads as noted within the review. Christian Nokes (bass), Steve Trigg (trumpet), Jason Reyolds (sax) join Richard Cureton (drums and persussion) round out the lineup. Founders Dave Cureton and Adam Gough that play everything else.

Adam and Dave both enjoy music of all kinds. You'll find examples of contemporary rock, commercial pop, classical, jazz and everything in between in their CD collections and they have always enjoyed juxtaposing these supposedly completely different styles in their own compositions. Crossing genres creates the basis for their pieces. Examples can be heard on IOEarth in "Smoky Wood," "Mountains Start To Fall," "Light & Shade" and many others.

The IOEarth album production began in 2004. The idea came when the main melody of one of their tunes became a theme within a small collection of songs they wrote within a short time of each other. The artists explored the idea of creating an entire album based upon this theme and soon had the first set of songs written. They took these ideas to the recording studio where they met Miguel Seco, a very talented musical engineer and producer from Portugal. Within a few weeks, the five tracks had been recorded and they started work on the next set of songs.

The entire concept of IOEarth unfolded before them. The project became divided into three movements. Water, Earth and Air, with each movement having its own theme, while retaining the overall feel of the project. The first movement is the story of people living a care-free existence but longing to see more of the unknown world. The second movement is the story of entrapment; of people held in situations they would do anything to be free from. The third movement is the story of liberation; of the joy gained from freeing yourself of your burdens and of the sacrifices you must make to achieve this.

The first movement (Water) opens with a stunning introduction where new age-style piano and keyboard wash give way to a Louise Barbbins' stunning vocal passage. "Storyteller" is a glorious progressive instrumental with keyboard and guitar dueling through the tempo changes as the melody is established. The first of the movement's standouts is "EEEE" with a male soprano part sung by Dave Curton--what a range! Reminscent of some of the best Cirque du Soleil themes, the upbeat instrumental tempo is offset by wordless vocalise. After an experimental interlude and the other a jazzy instrumental coupled with stunning female vocal parts entitled "Smoky Wood," complete with trumpet solo complete, Steve Balsamo delivers the extended track "Come With Me." Its memorable melody returns in further movements. The movement culminates with a lush cinematic instrumental, that marks its conclusion.

The second movement (Earth) clearly picks up where its predecessor left off, continuing to build in orchestral splendor. Following the instrumental intro, a choir joins the mix. In a vocal part most reminscent of Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay, Claire Malin delivers the evocative "Mountains Start To Fall," except in the climax where Claire's sonic power is completely overwhelming. The jazzy number "Loops" and lush "Symphony #1" follow. While they are both instrumentally outstanding. The former is while stark, just wonderfully arranged. A heavier sound emerges in "Light & Shade" with electric guitar dominating the mix of the arrangement with a glorious solo.

After a reprise of the album's intro, the movement's standout "Home" appears. This stunning progressive masterpiece sung by Claire Malin is perfectly produced, voice soaring atop the rich multi-dimensional and extremely dynamic arrangement. "The Creation" provides a bridge between the second and the third movements, recounting via powerful and really well-played progressive guitar solos the themes that have been played before it. We especially enjoyed the texture and delivery tribal chants in the breaks. These tracks will be a remarkable to see and hear performed in a live venue.

The third movement (Air) brings the themes from the first two movements into play again. It opens with the stunning "Sun Is Going Down," a crisp and rhythmic piece sung powerfully again by Dave Cureton, entirely reminscent of "EEEE" yet combining the tribal sounds of "The Creation." A interlude featuring Steve Balsamo's Mongolian throat singing provides the bridge to "Harmonix." This part was Steve's first commercial recording. With the electric guitar solo recounting "Light & Shade" and vocals styled from "EEEE" the range of Dave's voice provides a wonderful contrast that works perfectly. The spendorous and very percussive final three minutes of the song is a tremendous tribute to Richard Cureton. Claire's rocking conclusion is wonderful.

Steve Balsamo returns in the heartfelt "Take Me," a gentle, yet richly arranged, memorable and contrasting ballad about a death experience is powerfully delivered. It is certain to appeal to male and female vocalist enthusiasts equally. Multi-layered choruses, Balsamo's voice soaring above the harmonies, add an extra special dimension to the standout piece.

We especially enjoyed the overall album's standout track "Come With Me (Reprise)" sung by Claire Malin. Perhaps prepared originally as an edit, the acoustic guitar-based arrangement has the appeal of Steve Balsamo's wonderful original from the first movement, but the excitement of Claire's evocative solo voice serves to complete the track. An orchestral outro that draws the themes of the album together into a cohesive whole as the perfect bookend concludes the album. IOEarth have delivered a remarkable first project, clearly charting a course in progressive rock territory. Their forthcoming live performances will expand their following dramatically.

***** -

"IOEarth Album Review"

IO Earth is a brand new progressive rock band from the UK. The core members are Dave Cureton (guitars, etc) and Adam Gough (keyboards etc), who have been friends since the 90’s. Joining them are Richard Cureton (drums & percussion), Marc Williams (bass), Claire Malin, Louise Braggins and Steve Balsamo of Chimpan A (vocals).
IO Earth’s self titled 2cd debut is remarkable in that they sound like no one else today. This is probably due to the combination of various genres like rock, classical, opera, electronica, ambient and jazz. There is over an hour and a half of music with absolutely no filler. Every time I listen to this CD, I hear new things

This is one of those albums that requires an uninterrupted listen and played loud via headphones. I will say it’s well worth the time as the self titled debut has an amazing production to it. One song that sticks out on the first disc, to me, is “Come With Me”. It reminds me of various female fronted progressive rock especially bands like Chimpan A and Dream Aria (Canada).

The remainder of this debut is packed with amazing sounds and had I heard this back in 2009, it would have surely been one on my top favorites of that year. I would highly recommend fans of both complex and accessible progressive rock, to get a copy of this debut ASAP!

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on April 16th, 2010 -

"IOEarth : IOEarth"

In case you haven't heard, the self-titled debut from the UK duo IOEarth was nominated for "Best Debut Record" in Italy's 2009 Prog Awards. That honor recognizes the sheer variety of and ambition behind the music on these two CDs, which spans more than 90 minutes. Dave Cureton and Adam Gough make music that's hard to classify; elements of rock, pop, classical, jazz, world, gospel, techno and prog can be heard amidst influences from Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Devin Townsend, Pink Floyd, Mike Keneally and Sigur Rós.

The album — IOEarth's studio debut — evolved from a main melody Cureton and Gough were working on that became the musical theme for a small collection of songs. Taking that idea, adding a few more musicians and then running with it, the duo divided IOEarth into three movements: "Water," "Earth" and "Air." According to the band's web site, the first movement represents "the story of people living a carefree existence but longing to see more of the unknown world." The second movement is "the story of entrapment, of people held in situations they would do anything to be free from," while the final movement is "the story of liberation, of the joy gained from freeing yourself of your burdens and of the sacrifices you must make to achieve this."

It's difficult to imagine the sacrifices Cureton and Gough went through to achieve a record of this magnitude, as IOEarth is an elaborate, intoxicating and exhausting experience that likely will not resonate deeply until after several listening sessions. Each song is different: Some boast female vocals reminiscent of The Gathering ("Smoky Wood") and others levitate with techno-prog ("Sun Is Going Down"). "Loops" spins with dramatic Middle Eastern swirls that crescendo and then crash into the orchestral "Symphony #1" before finally venturing into metal territory on "Light and Shade" with screaming guitars. Along the way, listeners happen upon strategically placed short and ambient interludes, sometimes with buried vocals.

This is serious, occasionally mind-blowing, stuff. Unfortunately, there's also little wiggle room for the multiple musicians and vocalists. Everything sounds so precise that it's almost as if Cureton and Gough refused to let themselves have fun with this project. Maybe they did have fun, I don't know. But everything about this album — from the music to its artwork and liner notes — reeks of pretentiousness. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing; I'm just sayin'… - Sea Of Tranquility


IOEarth - IOEarth



"It is a sad fact that this album will remain undiscovered by the majority of the listening public, but this is one of the best albums I have ever had the pleasure to listen to." "Andrew C Homan" Amazon UK.

IOEarth Is The Amazing Musical Discovery of 20IO. Their Sound Transcends All Boundaries And Is Truly Genre Defying

An Epic symphonic fantasy both powerful and exhilarating. IOEarth have achieved the extraordinary, by fusing different musical styles into an amazing creation. It has aroused the interest of influential DJ's and the Media following the release of their self-named debut album “IOEarth” in 2010.

Dave Cureton and Adam Gough took 4 years to write and produce this amazing album. Their music is complex and intricate whilst also emotive and heart-warming. They produce a sound which is innovative and beautiful, very melodic and easy to listen to. It is not confined to a certain age group or musical tastes and it breaks down boundaries, in a similar way that Karl Jenkins Adiemus did for Classical Music.

Dave and Adam's music style was created through their interest in taking slices of styles rarely found together and blending them seamlessly to create something new and genre-defying. Their music transcends all boundaries. Whether your tastes lie in many areas of Rock, or Dance, Ambient, Classical, Atmospheric or even Jazz, there is something for you to enjoy.

The guys realized that they now had a mammoth task ahead of them – adapting the material for live performance. The flowing layers of the music made this process particularly difficult, but the end product played by just six musicians on stage, is truly breathtaking.

This is your opportunity to be involved with something cutting edge, innovative and commercial. We recommend that you listen to this beautifully constructed album. We are sure that you will appreciate its brilliance.


Geoff Barton: Classic Rock Magazine. Jan 2010:

“This beautifully crafted twin CD is divided into 3 movements (Water, Earth and Air) and is dubbed “an eclectic blend of sound and emotion”.

Jon Patrick: Promoter: The Peel, Kingston upon Thames, March 2010:

“One of THE BEST albums you'll hear this year, in fact one of THE BEST albums in decades!!! Seriously I was not prepared at all upon hearing the debut album by a band called IOEarth! Forget ANY genre, throw it all away. Classical music meets Classic Rock meets Electonica meets epic soundscape. Once in a while an album comes along that reminds you why its worth it despite the crap you have to put up with! It is a gorgeous soundscape! Fusion can either work or go terribly wrong. IOEarth's album is a fusion master-class on how it should be done”.

Jon Patrick: After the gig at the Peel March 6th 2010:

Still recovering from the IOEarth show!! “Last night was an honour and a pleasure!! Thank you all!!”

Rick Wakeman: Planet Rock Radio: May 2010:
His introduction to the track “Storyteller”.

“Sometimes I get something and I decide to play it. This is mainly instrumental and it is very very very good!"

John O'Boyle: Review from Winter's End Festival, March 14th 2010:

“Their set was made up from tracks from their debut album, of which I might add was in my top 5 albums last year. No pressure then. From the outset Dave Cureton and the guys knew what they wanted to achieve and how to do it and boy did they deliver. From the first chord, Dave's enigmatic guitar playing had so much heart and soul, you almost felt it breathe and caress you as it intertwined with his supporting cast of musicians, and to be honest, it was his guitar playing that stole the show”.

IOEarth are The unmissable band of 2010!